After Nearly 22 Years, Brutal Persecution of Falun Gong Continues in China

June 8, 2021 Updated: June 14, 2021

Commentary

As I browsed through the past few days of reports on Minghui.org, a U.S.-based website that documents the persecution of Falun Gong, I saw that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is still relentlessly persecuting Falun Gong practitioners for their faith, continuing to perpetuate untold human suffering.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is an ancient Chinese spiritual practice consisting of slow-moving meditation exercises and moral teachings that incorporate the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance in everyday life. It grew in popularity during the 1990s, with 70 million to 100 million adherents in China by the end of the decade, according to official estimates at the time.

Feeling threatened by its popularity, the CCP launched a systematic elimination campaign in July 1999. Since then, millions have been detained inside prisons, labor camps, and other facilities, with hundreds of thousands tortured while incarcerated, according to the Falun Dafa Info Center.

I’ll mention a few of the Falun Gong practitioners who were persecuted, as documented in Minghui’s latest reports.

Li Shunjiang, an engineer in Qiqihar in northeastern China’s Heilongjiang Province, died in his early 50s on May 20. He had been imprisoned twice since 2001 and spent a total of 12 years in Fengtun Prison and Tai Lai Prison, where he was tortured by prison guards. As a result, he suffered severe pleural effusion with excessive fluid buildup in his lungs and chest cavity. He died after his release in poor condition, while caring for his wife and mother-in-law, who were in dire states after also being persecuted—his wife had become mentally ill after three years in prison, and his mother-in-law was paralyzed and bedridden after four years in prison.

Yang Wanxin, a 65-year-old resident of Beijing, was abducted from her home in August 2020 and has since been illegally detained in the Shijingshan District Detention Center in Beijing. The police raid terrified her bedridden husband, and he fell into despair over her detention. His condition quickly deteriorated, and he died in December 2020.

Mo Liqiong, an accountant in Xiangtan city of Hunan Province, has been arrested and detained multiple times since 1999. On Aug. 25, 2003, she was arrested and later sentenced to nine years in the Hunan Province Women’s Prison, where she was tortured by prison guards. During her imprisonment, she was fired by her employer and abandoned by her husband. She was abducted again by police on Feb. 5 and has been illegally detained in the Xiangtan Detention Center.

Lu Mengjun, 59, also a resident of Xiangtan city, has been illegally sentenced three times for her faith, for a total of 15 1/2 years. Her latest prison sentence of 7 1/2 years began on April 28 after she was once again arrested and her home ransacked on June 2, 2020.

While she survived torture by prison guards during her previous two prison terms, two fellow Falun Gong practitioners who were arrested along with her, Lu Songming and Liu Liyan, were persecuted to death, in 2021 and 2014, respectively.

Gu Xiaohua, a 72-year-old Beijing resident, was tried by the Chaoyang District Court in Beijing for her faith on April 19, following her arrest by police, who ransacked her home and confiscated her Falun Gong books and personal belongings, on April 17, 2019. While detained in the Chaoyang District Detention Center, she was denied her right to have her lawyer visit her and defend her in court.

Gu has been repeatedly targeted for her faith since the persecution began in 1999. She was subjected to 1 1/2 years of forced labor in January 2002, four years in November 2005, and 2 1/2 years in February 2009.

When the CCP launched a systematic persecution campaign in July 1999, it declared that it would eliminate Falun Gong within three months by defaming practitioners’ reputations, seizing their wealth, and attacking them physically. Practitioners murdered as a result of persecution would be declared victims of suicide and cremated immediately.

An increasing number of reports (pdf) and investigations (pdf) show that the CCP has been engaged in state-sponsored massive forced organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners and other victims, in what researchers David Matas and David Kilgour called “an unprecedented evil on this planet.”

Over the past 22 years, the persecution of Falun Gong has proven to be among history’s most severe crimes against humanity. The actual number of deaths caused by the persecution is difficult to estimate, due to the strict censorship in mainland China. Minghui has confirmed and verified the deaths of 4,641 Falun Gong adherents at the hands of the CCP authorities for refusing to abandon their faith.

However, this incomplete statistic is just a fraction of a much higher death toll, as many deaths have gone unreported—including those who have been murdered for their organs.

Today, large numbers of innocent Falun Gong practitioners are still suffering in prisons and detention centers in China, where they face the threat of torture and forced organ harvesting.

The persecution must end, and every day it continues is a day that the CCP’s tyranny continues to triumph over the human conscience.

Shi Ming is a freelance writer who has been covering China’s affairs and human rights issues for many years. He has been contributing to the Chinese-language Epoch Times since 2011.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.